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Bagaudae: Late Roman Peasant Revolts

Posted: Fri May 10, 2019 4:04 pm
by David Kuijt
Hi all,

While trying to avoid grading final exams I came upon a discussion of peasant revolts in the Western Roman Empire, which were broad enough and large enough to fight military battles against W.Roman armies; at one point even Aetius got together an army to fight them. See the article in Wikipedia

Does anyone have any links to discussion of these that would inform the possibility of making a Bagaudae army list? Best of all, as always, is information on weapons, fighting techniques, tactics, formations, number of horsemen, and so on.

The Wikipedia article includes the mention that the Bagaudae actually fought as an ally (in the Triumph ally sense) of a Suevi king in Spain.

Dates seem to start 284 AD, another major set of revolts 360ish, then pretty-much continuous issues through the 5th century. Most of these seem to have been in Gaul, although Spain and Macedonia are both mentioned. Other than in Macedonia these all seem to be Western Roman rebellions.

Horde and Rabble in large quantities are easy enough -- but the army doesn't become interesting until we have some inkling of what ELSE it had. Some better foot (fighting as Heavy Foot) like the Jacquerie did? Any mounted troops? Any support from local landowners who would expect to have access to training and mercenaries? And so on.

Re: Bagaudae: Late Roman Peasant Revolts

Posted: Fri May 10, 2019 6:46 pm
by Kontos
The little reading I have done seems to suggest that, while many were military deserters, slaves, farmers and even the "merchant class", their strength was in ambushes, assaulting cities for provisions and general guerilla tactics when armies came for reconquest. Never were they inclined to give battle in the open.